MOON, MARS & BEYOND
Atec manufactures the fuel and oxidizer valves on the Centaur Second Stage of the Atlas rocket, which puts the satellite or spacecraft into the proper orbit for mission payload release. For the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) Mission, the spent Centaur stage was used as the primary projectile for the LCROSS instrumentation satellite. The Centaur engine led the way into the Cabeus Crater, making Atec-manufactured valves a permanent part of the moon’s sub-surface. As we have achieved our 140th launch, we highlight below some of the solar system destinations Atec has helped NASA explore.
Juno to Jupiter
The NASA New Frontiers mission, Juno, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on an Atlas V launch vehicle with Atec manufactured cryogenic valves on the RL10 final stage rocket engine. Juno took a 5 year mission to the planet Jupiter, and arrived on July 4, 2016. It was a wonderful Independence Day celebration! Juno is placed in polar orbit, of the giant planet Jupiter. The unmanned spacecraft is studying the formation of the planet to give us a better understanding of Jupiter and other planets around the stars. Juno will map the gravity fields and water vapor in the atmosphere. Juno is scheduled to make its last two of 14 flybys around Jupiter in May and July. The mission is awaiting an extension.
Launch Vehicle: Atlas V Rocket
Site: Cape Canaveral, FL
Launch Date: August 5, 2011
Jupiter Arrival: July 4, 2016
Cassini to Saturn
Cassini-Huygens launched on October 15, 1997 on a Titan IV-B/Centaur launch vehicle. The Titan IV-B had an RL10 upper stage with Atec manufactured valves. The upper stage launched Cassini-Huygens into low earth orbit, and then refired to give the spacecraft an extra push towards Saturn. Cassini went on a 7 year journey from the Earth to Saturn, and arrived on July 1, 2004. On its way it passed Venus (twice), Earth, and Jupiter. The Cassini spacecraft released its probe onto Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. Together the spacecraft and probe, have been studying the planet, its moons, and many rings and their different seasonal periods. The mission was originally to orbit Saturn for 4 years, but the mission was extended and is ongoing. The Cassini Solstice Extension Mission concluded with a phase known as The Grand Finale, deep dives and an eventual plunge into the planet’s atmosphere.
Launch Vehicle: Titan IV-B/ Centaur
Launch Location: Cape Canaveral, FL
Launch Date: October 15, 1997
Saturn Arrival: July 1, 2004